David B. Dennis & John Woitkowitz: Data Literacy and Digital Methods: Encoding Historical Sources with TEI/XML in the Classroom

This presentation discusses the “Exploring History and Digital Methods”-initiative and the experiences obtained from teaching data literacy and digital methods in the classroom. “Exploring History and Digital Methods” connects Dean College’s student body with the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin’s expertise in historical research, digital methods and the library’s unique historical collections.

Dean College is a four-year liberal arts college located in suburban Boston, Massachusettts. Over five weeks in November and December 2023, the initiative piloted a curriculum that enabled students to acquire applied skills and reflect on the ethical dimensions of digital research. The collaboration focused on the Edited Primary Source Project, a digital humanities project required in HIS 425 Digital History. Students chose a primary source document from a curated collection of historical source materials based on the Stabi’s digitization project “IN_CONTEXT: Colonial Histories and Digital Collections”. This curated collection’s theme was Colonialism in Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia (1908-1913), the premier British encyclopedia for children. First, students researched and wrote an editorial note, carefully providing context for their source, and created a further reading list. In a second step, through two virtual guest lectures in November 2023, students were introduced to the topic of metadata and the process of making analog source material machine-readable. Students learned to markup historical documents, using XML schemas as defined in the text encoding initiative (TEI), which are in standard usage in libraries and other cultural heritage institutions worldwide. As part of this process, they reflected critically on the ethical implications of recreating historical material for historical research. Following a review process, student outputs are published as part of the New England Journal of History’s Citizen Historian Sourcebook and the Stabi Lab’s datahub.

We would like to invite colleagues to reflect on integrating the teaching of subject-specific knowledge along with computational skills and critical approaches to data. As machine-readable source material becomes available at an ever greater pace, the need for understanding the provenance and composition of datasets is growing more urgent. Abilities to analyze data and communicate findings based on digital history research present opportunities to test established knowledge and raise new questions. The “Exploring History and Digital Methods”-initiative seeks to address this issue and to equip the next generation of historians with the awareness and skillset to navigate a data-driven research landscape.

Vortrag im Rahmen des „Digital History“-Forschungskolloquiums
Zeit: Mittwoch, 12. Juni 2024, 16-18 Uhr
Ort: Zoom-Konferenz (Zugang auf Anfrage oder via Mailingliste)

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
Digital History Berlin (Redaktion) (2024, 10. Juni). David B. Dennis & John Woitkowitz: Data Literacy and Digital Methods: Encoding Historical Sources with TEI/XML in the Classroom. Digital History Berlin. Abgerufen am 20. Juni 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/11sii

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